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Classical News, Jazz, Opera, World Music, Theater, Ballet ...

Strikes averted at Covent Garden
Staff walkouts are off the agenda at the Royal Opera House after a deal was struck over the current "victimisation" row.

Late-night discussions at ACAS, the government conciliation service, led to a new agreement last week between unions representatives and the Royal Opera management.

A disciplinary panel with an independent chair will now consider charges made against union shop steward Pat Styles, who is currently suspended from duty.

The suspension led to a strike ballot and the threat of walkouts at the Covent Garden Opera House. Mr Syles will remain off-duty until the case has been heard by the three-person panel, which includes one nominee each from the union BECTU and the ROH management.

The ACAS formula also contains a mechanism to ensure that future differences between managers and union representatives at the Opera House do not lead to the impasse that was reached in the recent dispute. Management and union have agreed that any concerns about union representatives will first be raised with the senior steward by management. If this produces no resolution within 7 days, the issue will be referred to the union's national officer, and, in turn, if this fails to resolve the problem within a further 7 days, the union's General Secretary will intervene.

A meeting will be held between senior representatives of union and management to re-establish a positive working relationship at the ROH. Management will also support a programme of training and development for union representatives.

Tue May 1 2001 (11:08:30 AM)

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